Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jingle Bells, Jingle...Oh, Forget It

I'm here...it's just been a little zany. 





To keep you occupied until I get back...
          Country Living Magazine has 49 ideas for tables during the holidays. including this very cool napkin-folded Christmas tree. (See below.)

                           Have fun!





Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Phenomenal Gems Shows Its Stuff

Don't miss one of the season's best gift shows! One day only in Longmont, CO:  Sunday, Dec. 17.



Looking for the perfect holiday gift? You’re in luck! Phenomenal Gems and Ecualove are doing a rare holiday show, and will be at Last Chance Gift Fest this coming Sunday, 12/17, 10 am-5pm. Stop by and check out our amazing selection of mineral specimens, Ecuadorian textiles and clothing, and more! 

Last Chance Gift Fest is a large gift show with more than 165 of Colorado’s finest vendors, offering a seemingly infinite variety of gifts for your holiday list. Doors open at 10 am and close at 5 pm, on Sunday 12/17. Last Chance Gift Fest is at Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd, Longmont, CO. Admission is free! Tag a buddy and share—the more the merrier! 🎁 #giftshow #crystals #minerals #handmadetextiles #colors #worldwide#globalgifts #holidays #excitement #localbusiness #craftfair #rocksandminerals #textiles#smallbusiness #shopsmall #supportlocal #holidayshopping #giftideas #lastminutegifts#christmas #Hanukah #kwanzaa #phenomenalgems #ecuador #ecualove #fairtrade#december #bethere #etsy

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wall-ing Up the Christmas Tree

Have you been wishing for a different kind of tree this year? 

Try these alternatives; they save space and make some striking decor.
      You can still put presents under them, as well.












All photos via Pinterest



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: A New Nativity

     I love a beautiful Nativity.

After living with a gorgeous village of figures under the tree while I was in grad school, I have been partial ever since to Italian-made sets. They're expensive, though -- the best we could afford were plastic figures that 'looked' right. 
     I loved putting them out. I also loved watching Daughters rearrange the scene, when they thought I wasn't looking. 

The problem: our Christmas decorations, including the Nativity set, are in storage in Michigan. 

The solution:  a new Italian set. Less than $20, thanks to Tuesday Morning...and my discount.

Finally, I have Italian Nativity figures -- thirty-five years after I first admired them. Maybe I can add more in the future.


Not quite as nice as these -- but beautiful, nonetheless

Speaking of the holidays:  The Brick has been watching a holiday-themed movie most days with me. I thought this interesting, since in his opinion, Christmas starts Dec. 24...that's when you start ramping it up and doing stuff. He announced this afternoon that he'll (grudgingly) watch holiday movies with me, provided he only has to see one a day. 
    "But you've already seen two today," I said. (Trading Places and White Christmas.) He looked shocked for a moment -- then started up a Christmas episode of JAG I missed last night. That makes three -- what a guy. 

     He's been putting Christmas music on, too, without any prompting. Miracles do happen.

    This weekend, neither of us has been in tiptop shape. I dragged myself out to the post office Sunday evening...but otherwise, we've stayed quiet and resting. (Computer stuff fits right in.) No church -- no Tuesday Morning hours (thank God). To make things even more interesting, Sir Charles managed to bang up my knee while racing to the morning gobble. 
      So now I limp AND try to breathe through the congestion. Meanwhile:

The Geminid meteor shower will be happening Dec. 13-14.  Step outside and take a look.

A Hawaiian hike, including a bamboo forest and 7 sacred pools. Give yourself a tropical break, if you're dealing with snow and cold right now.  (From Funky Junk Interiors)

Purchasing plans, including groceries, for a simpler December.  (From The Prudent Homemaker)

Katy Perry, Warren Buffett and Bitcoin...whaddya think?  (From The Wealth Advisor)

Vapor rub shower melts and bath bombs -- make them yourself. Now you've got a fighting chance to clear your sinuses -- and help flu symptoms -- just by taking a hot bath or shower. These might be good presents, too.  (From Homespun Hydrangea)




Ten creatures supposed to be extinct...that may not be
.  (From Listverse) Also:

Ten stories of people trapped underwater. I thought about this, while following news on:

Argentina's missing submarine.   (Still missing, sadly.)

An illegal from Mexico (with SEVEN previous felony convictions), who's been deported five times before, is protected by San Franciso's "city of sanctuary" status. ('Hey, we're innocent in all this,' city officials say.) Meanwhile, Our Hero 'finds' a gun, picks it up and it 'accidentally' goes off (do you really believe this?) and kills a young girl. But hey, it's not his fault, according to the jury....acquitted.
    Outrageous.
    See Mr. Innocent here.




Sadly, stuff like this has happened before.

Strip-piecing in quantity, made easy.  This is an old trick worth resurrecting; I first read about it from Marti Michel.  (From Blooms and Blossoms)



Eighteen funny animal pictures taken at the wrong (or right!) time.

A huge bunch of odd (and fascinating) historical photos.

And in the spirit...Bizarro Christmas comics courtesy of yours truly, including the classic below.

Have a good week. 









Saturday, December 9, 2017

Elf Yourself is Back!

Paste your favorite people's (and pets') faces onto these merry elves...

and let them do their stuff.

Oddcast


It's easy -- just go here, and they'll show you what to do next.

Here's my version, featuring Daughter #2, Son #1 and our granddog, Karma.

If you're feeling political, try this wacky Youtube version, featuring Our President and His Favorite Lady. Ahem. 



Friday, December 8, 2017

What's Happening Over Castle Rock?

Remember -- I told you about Castle Rock's Starlighting?

Are aliens interested in it, too?



Go here for more. Weird. 

 I'd normally say meteors, but they don't usually make turns. I did see a 'meteor' late one night, while driving in town -- but instead of going straight down, it turned and zoomed horizontally!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Cake...and the Question

    An engaged couple stops into a Denver area bakery to order a wedding cake. But the baker says no. He'll make them any other kind of cake. They can even purchase one of the cakes (or brownies, or cookies) already in the shop. But he can't make them a wedding cake. 



The problem?

They're gay men. And as a conservative Christian, he doesn't agree with their same-sex marriage plans.

When he explains this, the men storm out in tears. (According to one of the guys, his mom is there -- which makes it more humiliating.)

Here is where the story gets even more interesting. The guys -- David Mullins and Charlie Craig -- file a civil complaint. Jack Phillips, the baker, and his business, Masterpiece Cakeshop, are not only castigated by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission -- Phillips is required to have himself and his staff trained more 'sensitively.' Phillips even has to submit regular reports to prove that he's not acting prejudiced in any way.
    Finally, he stops offering wedding cake creations -- period. He's forced to cut his staff from 10 to 4, and loses, by his estimate, at least 40% of his business income.

He appeals. And loses.  Appeals again. Loses again. 

Now his case is up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments were Monday and Tuesday. LOTS of protesting on both sides, and media brouhaha.



As you would guess, there are a ton of news articles about this issue. Here's one -- and another. They all pretty much say the same things, along with cutesy comments and puns about cake. I'm sure every baker in the country would willingly participate in a spanking machine, as long as the reporters were lined up and run through.
              Twice on Sunday. (Yes, I'm being silly.)



Here's where I have a problem with the whole thing.

As a Christian (and, I think, a conservative one), I must follow the words of my Boss, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. I have no other choice. (I'm guessing Mr. Phillips feels the same way.) The Bible is crystal-clear about marriage's definition.

On the other hand, I can see the point of same-sex civil unions, which could legally be called marriages. They protect partners, their children and their estates, as well as provide for insurance and benefits. Their basic rights, like those of all people, should be protected.
     This is, after all, what Christians would call a fallen world. Our world -- and the U.S., specifically, in this case -- doesn't follow the Bible's mores. It hasn't, for a long, long time. That's especially sad, considering the proliferation of people who think lying, stealing, cheating and sleeping around is perfectly fine, and doesn't hurt anyone, themselves included. (It does. They're wrong.) 

While I personally disagree with homosexuality, and do not practice it myself, I have had many friendships with gay men and women...and value them highly. I don't believe that ANYONE'S basic rights for freedom and free specch should be denied or taken away.
     Christians and non-Christians alike.

And that includes what lawyers before the high court are fond of calling "artistic expression."




So what about Jack Phillips' right to his beliefs?

*Did he treat the men rudely, or denigrate them for their sexual choices? He says no -- and the couple seems to corroborate that.

*Did he refuse to sell them anything?  No.

*Could Mullins and Craig have gone to another shop? Yes. There are a bazillion bakeries in the Denver area -- they got married in another state, anyways. They had time to order another cake.

*Were they permanently or physically damaged? Other than hurt feelings, no. This didn't even come out in public until Mullins and Craig chose to make it so.

*Was getting another cake from another shop The End of the World?  Of course not.

What did Mullans and Craig get out of this? The satisfaction that their rights were enforced, over anyone else's. (And, presumably, another cake from another baker.) Seeing Phillips get punished for his refusal, first by Colorado government, then the legal system.

What did Phillips get? Public denigration. Loss of business and income. (He lost even more this week, considering he was in D.C. for his case, rather than decorating cakes back in Colorado.)




There have been some interesting twists to this argument. 

What if someone ordered a cake which celebrated white supremacy, or the Klu Klux Klan's beliefs? (The KKK were quite prominent in the Denver area earlier in the 20th century -- this is actually not that farfetched.) Would Phillips have been forced to take that assignment, regardless of how he felt about it personally?

Here's the crux of the case, in my opinion. Goods and services, I would think, are voluntary. They consist of someone offering, and someone accepting. Or vice versa. I don't agree with every book I read, every movie I watch or every painting I view. But I can choose not to purchase, read or view those items. I can protest when my tax dollars go to fund projects or purchases that I do not agree with. I should not be forced to pay or advocate for something that I don't believe in. (Sadly, as far as taxes and legal matters go, that isn't the case.)
      That is my right, as an American -- but it should be a worldwide right, as well.

    It's called freedom of choice, people. And it's one reason, for example, why football ticket prices and tv event viewing have declined since football players have decided to do the "kneel thing."


If I were Jack Phillips, would I have made the cake? 

Probably. But I would defend to the end his right to say "NO."





Jingle Bells, Jingle...Oh, Forget It

I'm here...it's just been a little zany.  To keep you occupied until I get back...           Country Living Magazine has 49...